Oh well, it must just be there are 50% more riders in Florida. Or Middle aged people toddling around on 7000lb Hogs with no MSF. Or teenagers on 500rwhp Gixxas doing standups at 375mph. Or Manatees. Manatees?
First let me state that i wear a helmet 100% of the time, riding a sport bike does not feel right without a helmet.
However i do believe that if you are an adult it is your right to ride helmetless as you please.
For the freedom fighters, go ahead just make sure you have full disability insurance to cover your cost, or accept that your family or estate will cover any catastrophic cost needed to rehab you
"In a lot of the accidents, even if they had a helmet on, it doesn't save them," Eveland said. "And sometimes I think even with a helmet I might not want to live. I don't want to be lying in a bed with a feeding tube"
smart alec, its the helmetless rider who ends up vegetative with the feeding tube- they dont all die, those that survive have severe brain trauma even from minor low speed crashes
If we're looking for issues to confront with regard to stampeding governmental intrusiveness and paternalism, the mandatory helmet issue is very low on the priority scale, though a highly visible and symbolic issue with many bikers. That having been said, we should appose mandatory helmet laws on principle, while simultaneously ALWAYS acknowledging that the human head is a very delicate structure that deserves some common sense anticipatory self-defense. As a retired paramedic, I can attest to the frequently irreversable trauma that not having worn a helmet produced. Does anyone really NEED some save-the-world from itself bureaucrat educating us on the importance of protecting our bodies when maneuvering at speed thru hordes of 4,000 pound cages? Not if your brain is functional. It's all about personal survival and being able to ride again after the accident. With a broken brain that is extremely unlikely. WEAR A HAT!!!!
The problem is not really individual freedom as much as the financial and social cost of head injury victims. I don't want to pay because someone else is too stupid and doesn't want to wear a helmet. Most of the head injury traumas end up living on social security for the rest of their live. I can't see how personal freedom can justify that.
Let's be more honest with ourselves and about the issues at hand.
If someone wants to ride without their helmet, I could give a rats @ss.
But what happens when the person becomes a vegetable with a severe head trauma eh? or helll, what happens when the person gets an injury that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet?
who pays? just him or her? we all know that's bullsh1t become most of these idiots don't have insurance, and thus can't cover the cost of the > 100k plus hospital bill that comes at the end of the month.
so who pays? WE ALL DO.
ambulances and hospitals cannot deny care to those who are stupid. we take all comers... stupid or not... rich or poor. if they have a life threatening disease or injury that we can intervene with, the patient gets admitted.
but society bears the cost.
so what do we want here...
1) everyone is b1tching about universal healthcare... do you want it?
2) do you want the "right" to risk forcing YOUR financial burden on the rest of society by having the freedom not to wear a helmet?
you can't have it both ways.
(unless you waive your right to care if you go helmetless and you get turned into road pizza...and we all know that's an unrealistic proposition)
NONE OF US LIVE ON OUR OWN ISLANDS PEOPLE. wake up. what you choose to do, or not do, does end up affecting all.
apportioning cost in response to behavior is the thin end of a very long and twisted wedge. personally i'd like hawaiian-type universal coverage for the entire US but that aside, when medical care is given only to the "deserving" this country won't be worth living in. There's no point in parroting all this stuff about "Freedom" if every time people choose a controversial form of freedom of expression they get shot down by legislation, or social disaproval.
i live in Florida, have medical insurance and enjoy riding without a helmet on city streets. i wear my helmet on the highway. By choice.
You make a classic argument concerning most laws which regulate things "for the social good."
Let me just pose a few questions. Should the government regulate all dangerous activites? ie rock climbing, snow boarding, swimming in a pool. After all, serious injuries occur in many activities, and it may benefit society economically if laws were in place that helped reduce monetary cost to society. Or better yet, why not forbid sports or riding a motorcycle all together.
In my opinion, the heart and sole of this country is based upon the freedom to make choices which may not always be best for society monetarily or even good at all period(ie nazi's marching through jewish neighborhoods). Why should society have to bear the cost of police protection for a group of nazi's imposing an unpopular viewpoint upon people who don't want to recieve it. Or cover the costs of the riot that breaks out. Simply put, because thats what makes America different from the rest of the world.
I believe the true social cost is loosing the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy in America.
I was shooting the bull with a customer at the bar I work at, and my riding bikes came up. His wife instantly showed distaste. As it turns out she is a therapist living in New Hampshire, and deals with lots of bike wrecks. I asked what is the most common injury? Her answer was head injurys. She also said that it isn't so much a head on collision with something, but your head bouncing off the road as you tumble. Fact is safty equipment works. I have messed up a couple of helmets in my day, including scrubbing a visor down a couple of layers. I am very thankful my face is not screwed up.
Bonus story--When I was home over the summer one of my friends neighbors hit a cow (4 lane highway, yea the farmer will probably lose everything). My mom knows one of the paramedics that responded. He said the guy would have walked away if he had on a full face helmet. His chin was the first thing to hit the ground. Unfortanate for him death was not instant.
Helmet laws are a big priority. When you permit them as a "safety" solution you are nodding in agreement on the need for mandatory safety with the "civilized" folk that believe it unconscionable that "deadly" motorcycles are even permitted on the road. We have all met people that believe they should all be banned. Is that truly impossible? Maybe, but mandatory seatbelts, training wheels, or similar non-sense are not likely too far behind.
It is interesting that an estimated 23%- 31% of motorcycle fatalities in Lee County were wearing helmets, apparently voluntarily.
All serious motor injuries are head trauma, right? Helmets always save the state (and us) money as no one forced to wear a helmet ever survives a normally fatal crash and ends up a vegetable living off the state. The whole money issue is a bit blurry IMHO. The harm to friends and family is much more real to me.
While we are at it maybe we could keep medical costs down by limiting all the unhealthy foods society might wish to eat. Smokers, we need to cut them off completely for societal good. Better yet we need a ban on open face helmets as my full face is soooo much safer and will save society money. If you accept laws to dictate your life/safety there is always someone out that that can constrict your life a few more notches in the name of saving lives, dollars or the environment. You start of "being reasonable" with safety helmet laws and the next thing you know ZEV motorcycles become mandatory. If you choose that path please be aware it never ends.
It seems that I pay for way too much insurance on all aspects of my life. I guess I am paying for those that choose not to ride, eat unhealthy, or smoke. Hey, it appears it is on my tab so go for it!
Meanwhile if you are not wearing a helmet, PLEASE reconsider. Wear one at least sometimes. Maybe just when it is cold to start. Just give helmets a chance. I wear them all the time and encourage others to do so. In California (post Gov. Wilson signing the mandatory helmet law) it was always entertaining/sad to see a really sweet super-fast brand-new sportbike with a rider sans shirt/gloves wearing shorts and flip-flops but thank goodness he had that shiny helmet covered in graphics. Same issue for many cruiser's passengers. I am a bit slow on these things but it seems we need education not legislation.
It seems to me the most valuable data is typically missing in media reporting on helmet less fatalities. How may hours or miles are ridden in the before and after periods of increased fatalities. I am sure that total riding dropped significantly in California the year following the helmet law. Not surprisingly, the following year reported a bit fewer motorcycle fatalities. The death rate per hour or miles ridden could have been up or down no one appears to know (or care). But, ah the headlines looks so impressive LESS DEATHS post helmet law (CA) MORE DEATHS post lifting the ban (FL). Did anyone read further in the article/links where we find:
Motorists are dying at a record rate in Lee County. So are pedestrians, motorcyclists and bike riders.
Experts blame no single cause for a 94 percent jump in highway deaths over last year.
Wow, you would think the headline should have been, "Experts clueless over 94 percent jump in highway deaths." Hmmm, if those pesky motorcyclists would just be forced to wear helmets maybe the cages would stop crashing into each other and running over peds increasing highway deaths 94% in Lee County IN 1 YEAR versus the 55% motorcyclist fatality increase in Florida post helmet ban OVER 5 YEARS. Sounds a bit weak to try to pass feel good "safety" laws when you don't have or cannot determine critical facts. But that is probably just me. Makes me want to don my gear and HAT and head out for a ride. My state is not one of the 19 anti-choice states regarding helmets. I seem to know what to do and just do it.